Child Support

Understanding the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) and Support Deduction Orders (SDOs)

Written by Russell Alexander / (905) 655-6335

Navigating family responsibilities, especially after a separation or divorce, can be challenging. In many jurisdictions, mechanisms are in place to ensure that financial support for children and sometimes spouses is maintained. In this context, the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) and Support Deduction Orders (SDOs) play crucial roles.

What is the Family Responsibility Office (FRO)?

The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) is a governmental body responsible for collecting, distributing, and enforcing child and spousal support orders. It acts as an intermediary between the person who is supposed to pay support (the payor) and the person who is supposed to receive support (the recipient). The primary goal of the FRO is to ensure that support payments are made regularly and in accordance with the terms set out in the support order or agreement.

Understanding Support Deduction Orders (SDOs)

A Support Deduction Order (SDO) is a legal document issued by a court that mandates the automatic deduction of child or spousal support payments from the payor’s income. This includes wages, salaries, and sometimes other sources of income. The deducted amount is then directly forwarded to the FRO, which, in turn, sends it to the recipient. SDOs are designed to streamline the process of support payment, reducing the potential for missed payments and ensuring that support obligations are met consistently.

The Process: How It Works

  1. Issuance of Support Order: The process begins with the court issuing an order for support, which outlines the amount and frequency of payments.
  1. Support Deduction Order (SDO): Alongside the support order, an SDO is issued, instructing the payor’s employer or income source to deduct the specified amount directly from the payor’s income.
  1. Submission to FRO: These orders are then submitted to the FRO. The individuals involved are required to provide relevant information to the FRO to facilitate the completion of these forms and the enforcement of the order.
  1. Enforcement and Distribution: The FRO enforces the SDO by collecting the deducted support payments and distributing them to the recipient. The FRO also has the authority to take action against payors who fail to meet their support obligations.

Importance of FRO and SDOs

The FRO and SDOs play a vital role in ensuring the financial well-being of children and supported spouses. They provide a structured and reliable mechanism for the enforcement of support payments, thus alleviating some of the stress and conflict that can arise in post-separation financial arrangements.

For Payors and Recipients: What You Need to Know

Payors: It’s crucial to update the FRO with any changes in your employment or personal information to ensure that support payments are processed smoothly.

Recipients: Ensure that the FRO has your current contact and banking information to receive support payments without delay.

The Family Responsibility Office and Support Deduction Orders are essential components of the family law system, ensuring that support payments are made regularly and efficiently. Understanding these mechanisms can greatly aid individuals in navigating the complexities of financial support arrangements post-separation or divorce.

Daniela Di Rezze, Associate Lawyer

For further assistance, consulting with a legal professional who specializes in family law is advisable to navigate these processes effectively.

Stay in Touch

Keep learning about the latest issues in Ontario family law! Subscribe to our newsletter, have our latest articles delivered to your inbox, or listen to our Podcast Family Law Now.

Be sure to find out more about the "new normal", by visiting our Covid-19 and Divorce Information Centre.

About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the Founder & Senior Partner of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers.